Jessi’s Blog: Mexico & WWI
Today’s piece is going to be something a little bit different. It’s no secret to anyone who knows me (and I’m sure if you’ve been a regular reader) that I’m a history nerd. I studied it in my undergrad, and continue to collect history books. As of late, my interest has revolved around the years of the First World War (1914-1918). I’ve been working with Mexico A Boomer’s Guide for quite some time, and a question dawned upon me. What was Mexico’s role in this war? Mexico was not one of the major players of World War One (England, France, Germany, US, and Russia were among the stars of the show). However, the country played a crucial role in the pull to bring a reluctant US into the war.
While Europe was fighting, and the US was trying to remain neutral, Mexico was facing it’s own larger problems. The Mexican Revolution in 1910 had left the country on shaky ground. Over the course of ten years, several rulers had come and gone and the country had broken out into a civil war. It wasn’t until 1917 that a Constitution was passed through the country, and fighting continued until 1920.
At the end of January 1917, the German government was desperate to break the stalemated trench warfare. They announced that it would resume unrestricted submarine attacks. As a consequence, the United States broke diplomatic relations with Germany and further events pushed the nation even closer to war.
On March 1, newspapers published a telegram from German foreign minister Arthur Zimmerman to the Mexican government, proposing a German-Mexican alliance against the United States. For attacking the United States, the Mexicans would recoup lost territory in Texas, New Mexico, and Arizona. These states were lost in the Mexican-American War in 1848. The telegram was intercepted by British crytographers, and was published widely in American newspapers and inflamed popular opinion against the Germans.
The Zimmerman Telegram was an important changing point in the war because shortly after, the US declared war against Germany. Mexico declined the alliance proposal, but it would have made a considerable impact on the US’ ability to fight Germany. One can only imagine how much the modern world would have changed if that had been the case.
More of Jessica’s Blogs:
“Indigenous Body Art”
“Jose Guadalupe Posada”
“La Virgen de Guadalupe Defendiendo Chicano Rights”
“Aztec Death Rituals”
“What was Mexico Like?”
“El Dia de Los Muertos”
“Baja Cave Paintings”